Monday, September 25, 2023

Are Vaccines Mandatory In Oregon

There Were So Many Concerns About Employee Shortages And Mass Terminations What Are We Seeing

Hospital systems push forward with vaccine requirements despite Oregon law

Its too early to say if these mandates will lead to mass terminations. But we can get an idea of the impact by looking at hospital systems: some, like Legacy Health System, set their own vaccine requirements. Legacy employees had to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, just over two weeks ago.

Even though 95% of Legacy employees are fully vaccinated, operations were impacted by the number of employees placed on administrative leave. Legacy had to consolidate some labs and temporarily closed some urgent care centers.

In Oregons rural counties, where there has been more resistance towards vaccine mandates, we could see larger numbers of layoffs. Some counties have taken the steps to declare a state of emergency ahead of the deadline.

Oregons Vaccine Mandate Kicks In Monday For Thousands Of Workers What Happens Now

Kelly Beckley, R.N., preps vials of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to teachers and educators at The Oregon Convention Center on January 27, 2021, in Portland.Brooke Herbert/The Oregonian

The deadline for Gov. Kate Browns vaccination mandates for health care workers, K-12 school employees and some state workers arrives Monday, and while its clear some service disruptions are expected, the state may well avoid mass terminations that will hobble hospitals, classrooms and government agencies.

Across the board, many of the professions staring down the deadline have reported comparatively high vaccination rates among workers. Some schools and hospitals say more than 90% of workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to just 71% of all Oregon adults.

Brown announced the vaccination mandates in August, saying required inoculations would help protect students, preserve health care capacity, ensure state workplaces are safe and reduce the delta surge. Workers who refuse to be vaccinated may now lose their jobs, and some have already been placed on leave.

But with just days remaining before Mondays deadline, neither Browns office nor the Oregon Health Authority could say exactly how many workers are subject to the mandates. Nor could they say how many are not fully vaccinated or have failed to obtain medical or religious exemptions to the requirement.

— Ted Sickinger

Oregon Will Require Covid

The Oregon Department of Education on Thursday announced all teachers must be vaccinated against COVID-19.The Oregonian

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday announced that every teacher in the state must be vaccinated against COVID-19, a reversal from her earlier assertions that superintendents and individual districts must decide on that requirement for themselves.

The rule goes into effect this fall and applies to other school staff and volunteers, the Oregon Department of Education said. Staff, faculty and volunteers may not opt out of the vaccination requirement unless they have a documented medical or religious exemption, agency spokeperson Marc Siegel said.

The state is not yet considering vaccination requirements for children 12 and older.

COVID-19 poses a threat to our kids, and our kids need to be protected and they need to be in school, Brown said during a news conference. Thats why Im willing to take the heat for this decision.

The governors vaccination requirement marks the latest step to increase protections as the highly contagious delta variant breaks case and hospitalization records in Oregon, crushing the state in ways previously unseen throughout the pandemic.

Brown on Thursday also announced that health care workers must be vaccinated this fall and may no longer opt out in lieu of regular testing.

The same timelines apply for health care workers.

Make safe choices. Our hospitals are full, Absalon said.

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Required Vaccines For Students

COVID-19 Two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Full effectiveness is on the 15th day after the last dose. UHS accepts non-US COVID-19 vaccines that are assessed and endorsed by the World Health Organization.
Measles, mumps, and rubella * Two doses of the MMR vaccine or two doses of individual measles and mumps vaccines and one dose of rubella vaccine first dose of MMR or individual measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines on or after age 1ORtiter showing immunityORbirthdate prior to 1957
Varicella Two doses first dose on or after age 1ORphysician documentation of diseaseORtiter showing immunity

* A hold will be placed on the registration process of students who are not compliant with measles, mumps, and rubella requirements . For international students, the hold will be placed on registration prior to their first term at the University of Oregon. For domestic students who are US citizens, the hold will be placed on registration for their second term.

Us Supreme Court Ruling

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On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked federal OSHA from implementing its Emergency Temporary Standards vaccination and testing requirements for large employers. This means OSHA cannot enforce the requirement that large employers ensure employees are either fully vaccinated or tested weekly. Large employers with 100 or more employees, including in-home care and independent living providers with the requisite number of employees, therefore do not have to comply with OSHAs vaccine and testing mandate at this time.

In a separate ruling, the US Supreme Court allowed CMS to implement its mandate related to vaccine requirements for nursing facility providers only. CMS can therefore enforce its mandate that requires nursing facilities and other providers who receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

As the CMS mandate moves forward with its own compliance dates, it is important for Oregon nursing facilities to remember that they are already subject to Oregons substantially similar vaccine mandate that has been in effect since October 18, 2021. As a reminder, the Oregon vaccine mandate applies broadly to all healthcare workers in a healthcare setting.

Please contact OHCAs Eugenia Liu, , with any questions.

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Are There Any Professions Covered By The Mandate That Remain Under

According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, just 50% of DOC employees are currently fully vaccinated. Service Employees International Union Local 503 and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 75 represent employees of the DOC and other parts of the government. They successfully negotiated for an extension. Now, employees that have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday have until Nov. 30 to be fully vaccinated.

Oregon Advances Bill To End Vaccine Exemptions Amid Measles Outbreak

The Oregon House passed a bill Monday afternoon that would outlaw all religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccines, potentially forcing major changes on the state with the highest kindergarten vaccine exemption rate in the country amid a record measles outbreak.

The measure, which passed the House 35-25 and now goes to the state Senate for a vote, would prevent children without their required vaccinations from attending school after Aug. 1, 2020, unless they have a doctor-verified medical reason they cant be immunized.

If passed, nonmedical objections to vaccines would no longer stand in Oregon, a state that medical professionals say exemplifies how easily parents may game the system. According to data gathered by the Oregon Health Authority, about 95% of the 31,500 nonmedical vaccine exemptions submitted in the state last year were done by parents who watched a video and printed out a do-it-yourself form.

Vocal objectors to mandatory vaccines often espouse beliefs that vaccines may be linked to autism, though there is no scientific evidence to support those claims. What is clear, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, is that unvaccinated people threaten herd immunity and put sensitive groups at risk, such as young children and immunosuppressed people.

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Immunization Requirements For Students

Note: The UO requires students who learn, work, or live on any UO campus location to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the start of their fall 2021 academic term. Students will be able to record their vacination records and/or request an exemption in myUOHealth.

In an effort to maintain a healthy campus, the University of Oregon has required vaccines and highly recommended vaccines. These vaccines address vaccine-preventable diseases that are often seen on college campuses including COVID-19* measles, mumps, rubella chickenpox tuberculosis whooping cough meningitis and influenza. Students are encouraged to satisfy UO immunization requirements before arriving on campus. University Health Services can also administer most of the required and highly recommended vaccines to students once students are enrolled and attending classes. Please see Costs for Services for vaccine prices at UHC. Immunization for measles is required by the State of Oregon.

See the Oregon Health Authority’s “Vax to School” brochure and immunization resources webpage to learn more about vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases.

* Note that the University of Oregon will require students, faculty, and staff who learn, work, or live on campus to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the start of their fall 2021 academic term. Individuals will be able to request an exemption.

Are The Vaccine Mandates Working Where Are We Seeing Compliance

Vaccine mandate deadline arrives for thousands of workers in Oregon, Washington

Vaccine mandates work. Since mandates were first announced, the number of new people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 each day has grown.

Oregon hospitals that had only vaccinated around 80% of employees before the mandate are now boasting vaccination rates between 88% and 95%.

Its a lot harder to tell whats going on with smaller health care organizations, though, or first-responders like firefighters or emergency medical service workers.

School districts have also seen fairly high compliance with vaccine mandates. Some are taking Monday off to help transition to lower staffing, but other districts say theyve known for a while who will still be working come, and have planned around it.

Multnomah County and the city of Portland both report vaccination rates at about 92% – higher than the 80% vaccination rate for adults in the Portland metropolitan area.

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Oregon Changes Temporary Rule Requiring Healthcare Worker Vaccinations

On August 5, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority adopted a temporary rule on an emergency basis requiring healthcare providers and healthcare staff who work in healthcare settings to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face periodic COVID-19 testing by September 30, 2021. Employers of healthcare workers had until September 30 to create and implement compliant policies. The rule applies to any individuals who work, learn, assist, or volunteer in a healthcare setting and who are providing direct patient or resident care or could be exposed to patients, residents, or infectious materials. Healthcare setting is any place where physical or behavioral health is delivered.

Who Would Be Exempt If An Employer Required Covid

In Oregon, there are three main categories of exemption.

1) Union members potentially. Collective bargaining agreements with employers may explicitly forbid mandatory vaccinations.

2) Health care workers surprisingly. You couldnt miss the relief as frontline health care workers began getting vaccinated around the country. But in Oregon, health care workers cant be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their job.

Its really such an interesting irony, right? said OConnor. Of all the people you would most want to be vaccinated and protected, youd think it would be the people that have to see everybody to give them the vaccines.

A decades-old state law, however, says that employers of health care workers must provide but not mandate immunization for infectious disease. These employers can only require vaccination if it is otherwise called for by state or federal law.

Natalie Pattison, an attorney at Barran Liebman LLP, said Oregon employers should pay attention to this law, which defines health care worker fairly broadly.

Obviously these are the workplaces that would be most likely to want to require it and be the most at risk, she said.

3) People with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs

This is where we get to more fundamental rights.

These rights are enshrined in federal law, namely the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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Mandatory Employee Vaccines Coming To A State Near You

While available vaccines have proven highly effective in controlling COVID-19 and its variants to date, the virus continues to spread, particularly among unvaccinated populations. In the face of flagging interest, officials across the U.S. have tried different approaches to increase vaccination rates. For example, officials launched incentive programs, stressed personal responsibility, deployed mobile vaccination units, and coordinated with corporate and community partners to encourage and effectuate vaccine uptake.

Having exhausted those avenues, and with the rise of more contagious COVID-19 variants, some officials are going a step further. Federal, state, and local authorities have announced that, in essence, they are requiring certain categories of workers to be vaccinated. Generally, under these types of mandates, workers who decline vaccination must comply with measures that do not apply to their vaccinated counterparts, such as weekly COVID-19 testing and/or mask wearing. Depending on the jurisdiction and the sector involved, however, unvaccinated workers might not have such alternatives.

The chart below current as of January 4, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. provides basic information on vaccination mandates issued at the federal and statewide levels. It covers directives that affect public or private entities as employers.

Jurisdictions Seeking to Curtail Private Employer Vaccine Mandates

Jurisdictions Mandating Vaccination Programs for Certain Workers

Updates From Oregon Osha

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From Oregon OSHA: On Nov. 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay federal OSHAs COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on Nov. 5, 2021 . The court ordered that federal OSHA take no steps to implement or enforce the ETS until further court order.

Oregon OSHA is continuing discussions with stakeholders, and at this point, we do not anticipate adopting a rule by Dec. 4, 2021. If the stay remains in place, our timelines will be adjusted accordingly. We will continue to monitor the lawsuit and evaluate our options. Read more

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News Release: All Multnomah County Employees Will Be Required To Be Vaccinated

With the Delta variant surging and the regions hospital systems at or beyond capacity, Chair Deborah Kafoury today announced that all Multnomah County employees will be required to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19.

Chair Kafoury said the County is complying with the states new requirement that all healthcare personnel be vaccinated while extending that requirement to include the rest of the Countys more than 6,000 employees.

It is part of a two-pronged strategy in response to the fifth surge of COVID-19 infections: requiring masks indoors and promoting vaccination.

With a fully vaccinated workforce, we can better protect ourselves, our co-workers, our clients and our community, Chair Kafoury said in an email to all employees Friday, Aug. 20. We also model for other organizations and businesses the path to a healthier community.

Vaccines are safe, free and highly effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. All states, including Oregon, have long had vaccine requirements for children to attend K-12 schools.

In making the requirement, the County also joins an increasing number of public and private employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines: among them, the federal government, the states of Washington, California and Hawaii, more than 600 colleges and universities, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, and Disney.

Exemptions to this mandate may be available based on approved medical conditions, the American With Disabilities Act or a sincerely held religious belief.

Nurses Union Warns Of Pushback

Vaccine hesitancy or refusal still exists in the health care field.

The Oregon Nurses Association said in a statement that while it agrees vaccinations are the most effective way to protect people from COVID-19, it fears some health care workers would rather leave the profession than abide by the mandate.

For a health care system already overwhelmed, the departure of any nurses would add significant pressure.

“Todays decision to mandate vaccinations for health care workers may ultimately exacerbate an already dangerous staffing crisis in hospitals across the state,” the ONA said.

Several large Oregon healthcare organizations already require vaccines. Kaiser Permanente requires employees either be vaccinated or apply for a medical or religious exemption. Oregon Health and Science University announced earlier this month it would require staff starting in September to be vaccinated or formally decline vaccination.

Salem Health told the Statesman Journal earlier this month it requires its employees to either be vaccinated or sign a form saying they decline to get vaccinated. Those who decline vaccinations are subject to regular COVID-19 testing, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Wood said at the time.

Salem Health’s overall employee vaccination rate was 75% as of early August, Wood said. For Salem Health’s medical staff employees, the rate is 90%, and for non-employed medical staff it’s 92%, she said.

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Is It Legal To Mandate Vaccines

Broadly speaking, yes. All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories mandate vaccinations for children to attend school. Federal employers and the military also mandate vaccines.

The legality of Oregons COVID-19 mandates is still being determined by the courts. There are several lawsuits underway, but two initial rulings by courts this month were not favorable to plaintiffs who were trying to get judges to block Gov. Kate Browns executive order from taking effect.

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The courts said that arguments being made by state police officers, health care workers and others impacted by the mandate did not warrant immediate intervention because they had little-to-no chance of succeeding.

But legal experts say this isnt the end should these lawsuits fail. They expect plaintiffs to appeal. There could be dozens of lawsuits that do the same in other states such as Maine and New York where weve seen lower courts rule differently, setting up a much larger legal fight that could come before the U.S. Supreme Court very soon.

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